The Black Panther vs The Corporate Candidate

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The corporate media are screaming like banshees in fear that former Black Panther Charles Barron might win a seat in Congress. Their preferred Black politico is Hakeem Jeffries, a charter school supporter flush with corporate funds. “The media demonization machine has kicked into high gear on Charles Barron, with the New York Times calling him a ‘showboat’ and ‘provocateur.’” But of course, that’s what happens when rich white men claim the privilege of choosing Black leadership.

 

The Black Panther vs The Corporate Candidate

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The media demonization machine has kicked into high gear on Charles Barron.”

There might yet be a Black Panther in the U.S. Congress. I don't mean a former Panther like Congressman Bobby Rush, from Chicago. Rush crossed definitively over to the other side back in 2005, when he became a key ally of the telecommunications industry, for which he was rewarded with a $1 million grant from AT&T for a community technology center with his name on it.

Charles Barron, on the other hand, is a say-it-loud-and-proud veteran of the New York chapter of the Panther Party, and a city councilman from Brooklyn since 2002. He’s going after the congressional seat being vacated by Edolphus Towns, a rather conservative Black politician who, nevertheless, has endorsed Charles Barron. Barron has also won the backing of the largest union of city workers.

The big corporate money is riding on State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who ingratiated himself to the fat cats with his support for charter schools. Wall Streeters are the real power behind school privatization, and they love Jeffries with a passion that has sometimes proven embarrassing. He’s had to reject hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from a charter school advocacy group bankrolled by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But, there’s plenty more money where that comes from.

Hakeem Jeffries ingratiated himself to the fat cats with his support for charter schools.”

The corporate media are all giddily comparing Jeffries to business-friendly Black politicians like President Obama and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The Booker comparison is accurate. Cory Booker was an obscure and ineffective first-term Newark city councilman until he hooked up with the far-right moneybags at the Bradley Foundation, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That’s where Booker, a hardcore advocate of private school vouchers and charters, found the cash and corporate connections to take on a four-term incumbent mayor, in 2002. He spent twice as much as the mayor, but still lost the first time around, winning four years later with the universal support of corporate media.

If Hakeem Jeffries is Cory Booker – and he certainly draws his funding from the same sources – then Charles Barron is Cynthia McKinney, of Atlanta, who was called everything but a child of god by the massed national corporate press when she was unseated by a big money-backed candidate, in 2002. The media demonization machine has kicked into high gear on Charles Barron, with the New York Times calling him a “showboat” and “provocateur.” The New York Post says Barron is a racial demagogue – which means he has a strong disdain for white supremacy.

Since Cory Booker’s first race for mayor in 2002 – and then, on a much larger scale, with the rise of Barack Obama – corporations and their media have exercised unprecedented influence on Black politics, down to the local level. They fund the Black misleadership class. But the moneymen haven’t bought Charles Barron, and that’s why they’re in a panic over what might happen in the June 26 primary.

If Black folks understood their own interests, every New York Times endorsement, every Wall Street dollar that goes to candidates like Hakeem Jeffries, should translate to a vote for someone like Charles Barron – who is a Panther, still. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 
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